A Show For Sports Fans

The George R Brown Convention Center is hosting a trade show this week many sports fans would love.
The CAMEX Trade show features just about anything you can imagine with university school colors and logos.
But with the economy the way it is — are people really spending money on such nonessentials? Bill Stamps takes a look.


Whether you’re a Cougar, a Longhorn, or maybe you’re from California and you’re a Trojan, or a Bruin, the Camex Trade Show probably has something you’d be interested in. The question is are people buying these items with the nation still in the midst of tough economic times. Sharon Kelly sells little college sweatshirts for pets.

“They will buy for their pets, often times before they will buy for themselves or for their kids.”

Like all the businesses at this trade show, Kelly sells to sports stadiums and college book stores. She says people love their schools and will dress their pets mascot attire even when times are tough financially.

“We saw a very small decline in the pet sector, in general, including the licensed items and that has to do with the humanization of the pet. More and more people are covering their pets in their wills, taking care of them. The pet is now a part of the family. The pet is probably as valued as the children, or almost.”

Chris Cavanagh works for Denco, a company that sells luggage with your favorite school’s color and logo. He agrees school pride is big business, even during a recession.

“You got a hundred thousand plus people going to a college football game. They’re not afraid to spend money on the tickets. They’re not afraid to spend money on the tailgating. Everything that they have during the tailgating is all college logoed stuff, which is obviously a little more expensive, so this is all recession proof.”

Walking through this trade show is like walking through the biggest college book store in the world. Everything here, whether it’s a wireless mouse or even flip flops has a college logo on it.

For professionals, there’s the Blackberry cover in your school’s colors and logo. Daryl Shorter and his partner started selling them six years ago. Their company is called Iphanatic.

“People have such a passion for their school. I think it’s one of the things that helps get people through the recession. Its ‘hey, I love my college; I wear this sweatshirt; I have it on my phone; I put it on my laptop.’ It’s just one of those things where people feel good about their school. Why not have it everywhere they can have it?”

The vendors say people may not really need University of Texas pajamas or a leather wallet with LSU on it, but they believe people will continue to buy these items no matter how long it takes the economy to improve.

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